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I’ve been happily receiving very complimentary and ego-soothing feedback on the live Symphony No. 1 performance recording from Indiana University. Surprisingly, I’ve actually listened to it myself a few times. Usually I wouldn’t put myself through that, but in this case, the voice in my head (you know, the one that screams “This is awful. What were you thinking?”, etc.) never fully drowns out the music itself, and for much of the piece I can vaguely enjoy listening.

In addition to satisfying myself that the Symphony actually exists, I’ve been catching up on what my colleagues have been up to this year. (Because apparently, it wasn’t all about me. Who knew?) I missed hearing most of these pieces live because I was squirreled away in New Hampshire during the National CBDNA Conference in Austin, so the performance recordings had to do, and I pass them on here. When you take in the following links (listed in no particular order) make sure you listen some time well after my stuff, because they are all way too good, and any direct comparison doesn’t favor me at all.

–SB’s Ecstatic Waters is beautiful, glorious, spellbinding, and every other adjective like those. Anyone who’s heard it, live or otherwise, will no doubt confirm the above, but I am probably the least surprised out of anyone. When Steve sent me a copy of the MIDI realization last year I flipping teared up while listening. The skill and imagination involved in this work is staggering, and when this becomes one of those pieces we talk about, remember I knew him when.

JP‘s written a ton lately, including a euphonium chamber work I haven’t listened to yet because I am overdue on writing one myself, and I know if I listen to Joel’s I won’t be able to remove my sobbing self from the corner of the room to actually do it. But I have listened to his exciting and brilliant new violin concertino. And a new live performance recording of It Perched from Vespers Nine confirms for me how gorgeous that work is, and how much I wish I had written it.

–I also happily received a recording of JB‘s Diabolus Ex Machina, which stuns the listener by slapping him upside the head with a completely original sound world. If I had heard it without knowing the source, I would have guessed this sucker to be Frank Zappa’s lost masterwork, and I’m hoping that this posting will kick Jim into updating his website and posting the live premiere recording so that more than five people can hear it.

–And no one needs me to point them toward JM’s Asphalt Cocktail, of course, because downloads of the live performance John put on his website reportedly nearly brought down the server. Still, I’ve been listening to it repeatedly with a smile on my face, in part because it’s got my name on the top of the score, but mostly because the insane ear-splitting roar that is that piece is a marvel of craft and creativity.

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